Seeking for Japanese style of composition and Minao SHIBATA

In my presentation, the Japanese feature of pitch and timbre will be discussed along with the terms NE-IRO, ONSYOKU and HIBIKI, focusing on a Japanese composer and musicologist Minao SHIBATA. The discussion concerning pitch and timbre in Japanese avant-garde music must be connected with a broader situation of ethnicity in three decades from 1950's to 1970's. Actually we found several important arguments about Japanese features comparing to the Western music among Toshiro MAYUZUMI, Makoto MOROI and Minao SHIBATA in the journal ONGAKU-GEIJYUTU. I can also quote an article of a tripartite talk of 1957 among Mayuzumi, Hiroshi AKUTAGAWA and Hidekazu YOSHIDA. In that talk, the theme of which was ethnicity in modern music, Mayuzumi claimed that his mentality was similar to the post-serial music by Stockhausen and Boulez in the sense that they were standing on the border line between the Western and the Eastern in view of philosophical identity. (ONGAKU-GEIJYUTSU 1957-12, pp.44-53). Especially Mayuzumi stressed his sympathy to Boulez's irrationalism which Mayuzumi found in Boulez's essay `Eventuellement'. (ONGAKU-GEIJYUTSU 1958-2, pp.31-38).

Another material that shows the situation is the evolutional movements by the players of the traditional Japanese music HOGAKU. Thanks to the new wave of HOGAKU, Toru Takemitsu could seek for his original language which merged the Japanese timbre, time and space with the Western system of music in his famous November Steps for Shakuhachi, Biwa and orchestra(1958)

Minao SHIBATA explored his own way of Japanese composition and aesthetic contemplation supported by such background as mentioned above.

SHIBATA started his career as a member of musicians's group SHINSEIKAI, which was founded in 1946. SHIBATA was one of the first composers who had introduced twelve-tone technique to Japan. Yoshiro Irino and SHIBATA used the term ONSYOKU for timbre as the element of tone in order to distinguish from NE-IRO.

In 1955, SHIBATA composed Musique concrète for stereophonic broadcast with a NHK producer Keiji MASUI and other ten persons. He published a report titled `An Account of Musique Concrète' (ONGAKU-GEIJYUTSU 1956-4, pp.30-35). He was a member of the founders of Music Research Center of Twentieth Century as well as a leading person of NHK electronic studio(1955). He founded a critical magazine titled TRANSONIC(1963-76) with Yuji TAKAHSHI and Toru TAKEMITSU.

SHIBATA explored the feature of Japanese traditional music by scientific way apart from the Wetern theory of pitch and timbre. According to Koji SANO SHIBATA's apprentice period of Western style ended with Consort of Orchestra (1973) and his new style started with a theatre piece for choir, Oiwake-bushi-ko. This piece is based on Japanese folklores and includes a lot of microtonal pitch changes as Japanese timbre.

adrian 2015-06-03